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iXiGOers Dec 09 2012

What tips should one keep in mind while staying in Colombo?

Kshitiz Ahuja DEC 10 2012
0 people found this answer useful Useful ?Yes

The financial and commercial hub of Sri Lanka, Colombo, welcomes you with open arms to enjoy an amazing vacation here. A visit here will always be a memorable one, but do keep in mind the following tips and guidelines for a smooth and hassle free vacation.


  • Colombo offers you all kinds of hotels and guest houses for accommodation to suit every budget, including luxury, mid-budget and budget. Remember to book beforehand to get a great deal. There is no peak season to visit this place, so tourists come here all year long.


  • The Bandaranaike International Airport has recently been renovated and upgraded so it is quite clean and bright. But, the provision of seating/sleeping space is limited, especially on crowded days. So, pre-book your travel arrangement through the hotel before you come. You can do this even inside the arrival lounge as touts and taxis at the airport exit can be a nuisance and cannot be trusted.
  • It is advisable that you do not take the public transport (both bus and train). It is better to rent a car if you are staying for long. You can try a ride in the local tuk tuks, which is not only a convenient way to get around in the city, but also a unique experience. Do negotiate the fare before getting in. Also, when you take a taxi, negotiate the price before or go by the meter. Even though car seats and seat belts are not compulsory, but do use them as the traffic can be rash, especially during the peak hours.

Things to bring

  • The things to be brought are loads of sunscreens along with sunglasses, hats, mosquito/insect repellents and basic medicines. For clothing, lightweight cotton is best, and remember bring a raincoat or waterproof jacket in case of a sudden downpour.


  • Since tap water is not potable in Sri Lanka, make sure you buy bottled water (check for seal on cap) or boil tap water before drinking.
  • Even though crime is not widespread, but take care when travelling in crowded places or public transports as pickpockets can try their luck. Remember not to walk on the beach alone or even as a couple/family after dark and it's best to avoid walking in any deserted or poorly lighted areas.
  • Please keep valuables in a secure place when you leave your hotel.
  • Do not exchange currencies with unauthorized individuals as there are many touts who have cheated foreign tourists by promising to pay more than the exchange value. So, exchange currencies only from Government authorized money vendors at airports or from hotel and remember to ask for a receipt of the exchange transaction.
  • Even though English is a second language in Sri Lanka, you will find that most people can hardly speak enough English to get by. But, don’t worry as most of the  hotel and restaurant staff, shopkeepers, etc. are quite proficient in English.
  • It is considered rude to turn your back or stand alongside the Buddha statue. So, observe and follow the local etiquettes.

Keeping in mind these tips will ensure you a safe and comfortable vacation. We hope you have a wonderful trip to Colombo.

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